Four of Seven
By Samantha Mills
In the waning light of an artificial sun, Camelia Dunlevy climbed a mountain with her sister on her back. Delilah was a hollow weight, bird-boned from reconstructive surgeries, unbreakable.
The trouble wasn’t her bones, but her lungs. She panted in Camelia’s ear, unaccustomed to altitude, a small sound that might as well have been a war drum. Camelia couldn’t call for help, she couldn’t leave Delilah behind, she couldn’t walk the road for fear of company men.
And her sister was still giving bad directions.
“There’s a path up the western slope,” Delilah whispered, her breath hot and tickling. “I swear it.”
“There’s no path.”
“I came up once, with Aster.”
“Then you were on a tram.”
“Yes. I saw it out the window.”
“I don’t know what you saw, but it wasn’t a path!”
An explosion rocked the mountain, pelting them in pebbles and moon dust. Camelia dashed behind the nearest bush—a sickly, transplanted thing, hardly any cover—and counted the seconds before the familiar grind-whir-scream of a strikebreaker started up. Distant, but not distant enough.